Power's Out, Fun's On

Originally posted on WRAL’s Go Ask Mom

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By Sarah Lindenfeld Hall, Go Ask Mom editor

We have a big storm coming. Hurricane Florence is forecast to pack a punch in the Triangle starting Thursday - and schools already have announced early releases and closings. That means many of us will be cooped up inside with kids for more than a few days.

So I checked in with some local experts to get some ideas for indoor activities that you can do - even with the lights out.

29 indoor activities with kids when the lights are out

Storytimes to Neighborhood Maps

Raleigh Tutoring shares these fun and educational activities.

Have family reading time. Young kids love to do the same thing as their parents. Be a reading role model; curl up together and read!

Make a fort with sheets and pillows for reading and storytelling. If it’s nighttime, use flashlights or even better, headlamps. Make shadow puppets with your hands, and your stories will come to life!

Write a letter. Kids can write letters to family members, friends, or even to their future selves.

Practice math facts with a deck of cards. Preschoolers can learn numbers and counting. Older kids can master their math facts playing multiplication war and Blackjack. Kids can be creative and design their own games to challenge their parents.

Draw a map of your neighborhood. Include illustrations or icons to indicate key locations. If it’s safe to go outside, test out your map on a family walk.

Obstacle Courses to Glow Stick Baths

Fit4Mom Midtown Raleigh offers up these really creative activities for families.

Safari: Gather all of the stuffed animals you can find. Take turns hiding them around the house and then go on a safari to find them all. Make some binoculars to use for your hunt out of cardboard tubes and tape if you have those on hand.

Obstacle Course: Use what you have around the house to create the obstacles (chairs, tables, boxes). Use different movement patterns such as tip-toeing, forward roll, side shuffle, army crawl, crab walk or bear crawl to go between or through the obstacles to provide an extra fun element of physical fitness and coordination!

Forts: You're never too old for a fort! Throw a flat sheet over the dining table for a quick place to hide out or make elaborate cardboard and duct tape box forts. The building of the fort is more fun that actually sitting in it so be sure to embrace the process!

Dance Break: In lieu of your regular, serious exercise routine, turn on some music for a family dance party that will have everyone shaking their booty. Might be a good idea to charge up your blue tooth speaker now.

Glow Stick Bath: Float a few glow sticks in the bath tub and enjoy a few minutes of quiet, calm, fun in the dark.

Yoga to Candle Breaths

Emily Behr, the mom behind Kids Mindful Movement in Pittsboro, shares these activities to stay active - and calm.

Do yoga together: Here is an easy sequence you can do in your living room with your kids:

  • Reach up towards the sky

  • Touch your toes

  • Jump or step back to plank

  • Lower Down to belly

  • Lift your chest forward and up into cobra

  • Pike your hips back and up to downward facing dog

  • Jump your feet up to your hands

  • Repeat

Variation: Try connecting one breath per movement for an extra challenge

Challenge each other: Create a “spider web” of tape down a hallway that your children have to climb through, stack pillows for them to crawl over, and then draw out challenges for them to do at different stations (i.e. hop on one foot, 10 jumping jacks, etc.)

Create a shadow puppet play: Using flashlights and your hands, create a story and act it out! Make it up as you go along for an adventure with your child. You don’t have to only use your hands, either! Variation: Use your entire body or items you find around the house for extra fun!

Have a flashlight dance party: Crank up your favorite tunes and use your flashlights as strobe lights! Variations: Have one family member lead the dance and the rest follow, then switch leaders. Or, have your family freeze in their silliest dance move when the music stops.

Try out your candle breath (must be done with a parent): This is a great way to calm and center yourself during the storm. Light a candle (with a parent.) Take a deep breath, then try and blow the candle just enough to flicker the light. Be careful not to blow it out! Try this three to five times. Then, take a deep breath and blow the candle out. Variation: Count your breath (i.e. inhale for three counts and exhale for three, repeat.) Always make sure to listen to your body and stop immediately if you start to feel light-headed or dizzy.

Hurricane Hopscotch to Marshmallow Building

Skill-By-Skill, which provides occupational therapy programs for kids, shares these activities which help kids build their fine motor skills - and stay entertained! They also shared some other great activities during last winter's snow days.

Hurricane Hopscotch: Cut paper shapes and tape them to the floor. Then hop from shape to shape. You can make them dinosaur or animal footprints, write letters, numbers or site words on them!

Fine Motor Obstacle Course: Set up activities around the table then time your kids as they complete them or have them race. Activities to include: sorting with tweezer, threading beads on pipe cleaners, writing letters in sand or shaving cream, making play dough shapes.

ABC Scavenger Hunt: Find objects around the house that start with each letter of the alphabet. Take turns and mix it up by changing the movement to find it. Example: walk like a bear to find an apple, skip to find a broom.

Weather Charades: Get silly and use your body to impersonate different weather words such as rain, tornado, hurricane, snow … while your family guesses!

Marshmallow Building: Use marshmallows and toothpicks to build houses, animals, people or rocket ships and then eat them!

Grab 'n Glow Ring Toss to HomeBowl

Marbles Kids Museum shares these incredibly clever and fun ways to pass the time!

Grab ‘n Glow glow stick ring toss: Activate a glow stick and place inside full bottle of water. Use this glowy vessel as the target for a ring toss. The rings? Glow sticks linked into circles.

Cardboard Netflix: Make a “TV” out of old boxes/cardboard, and act our your favorite TV shows. Rotate in different family members for commercial breaks!

Flashlight Feast: Hide fun snacks with clues or riddles to lead you along the way, emphasizing corners and nooks. Use flashlights to scout them out; if you lose power, the game remains the same!

Shadow Play: We love the classic approach of using flashlights to create profile shadows that you can turn into silhouettes.

HomeBowl: Use items around your house to create a bowling alley – pins, balls, gutters, and alleyway! The sky’s the limit on this one (and hallways make a good alley starting point).

Couch Cushion Obstacle Course to Indoor Camping

Babies on the Move, which provides pediatric physical therapy for little ones, offers up these activities.

Couch cushion obstacle course: Pull cushions off the couch and use them to create areas to crawl over, under, and through with your little ones.

Sensory bin for toddlers: Use dried beans and different types of pasta with spoons, ladles, and plastic cups to let your toddler play with filling, dumping and exploring different textures

Flashlight tag: Hand someone a flashlight and set the ground rules. Once a child has had the light shone on them they are tagged and it’s their turn to catch the next kiddo.

Indoor camping: Set up a tent in your living room, complete with sleeping bags and flashlights. You can make the most of close quarters by telling stories, reading books, or making shadow puppets.